LONDON (Reuters) - The British government on Thursday delayed plans to give English lawmakers a veto over laws that only apply in England, instead of risking an embarrassing parliamentary defeat over concerns constitutional changes were being rushed through.
Prime Minister David Cameron, re-elected for a second term in May, has promised to address a situation whereby Scottish parliamentarians are allowed to vote on laws affecting only England, while English lawmakers cannot vote on similar Scottish matters handled by Scotland’s devolved parliament.
The government had said the changes did not require a new law, and parliamentary rules would simply be amended subject to a debate and vote next week, prompting outrage among some lawmakers including members of Cameron’s Conservatives.
Earlier this week the government lost a symbolic vote on the issue following an emergency parliamentary debate, and risked losing the actual vote on the changes, which were a key election pledge.
On Thursday Chris Grayling, the Conservative leader of parliament’s elected lower chamber, the House of Commons, said he would re-write the proposals and allow more time to debate them, with the vote to be held after parliament’s summer break.
“This reflects a willingness on the part of government to respect the parliamentary process, listen to views that have been expressed ... and, reflecting on that, the appetite there to have further debate on the issue,” Cameron’s spokeswoman said.
Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Michael Holden